Aboriginal Footballer Star in Panthers Hall of Fame

By Peter Argent
Off the BASN Sports Wire
Updated: October 16, 2004

David Kantilla

Bathurst Island, Australia—-Tiwi David ‘Soapy’ Kantilla, one of the Aboriginal pioneers of South Australian foortball after World War II, has been inducted into the South Adelaide Football Club’s Hall of Fame.

Kantilla was given this special status at the club’s 40 year anniversary of its 1964 premiership.

From Bathurst Island (NT), Kantilla – tribal name Amparralamtua – arrived at the Panthers in 1961 and was an immediate success. He booted six goals in his first match and went on to play 113 games with the Panthers until the end of the 1966, whereupon he returned to the Northern Territory to coach St. Marys in the NTFL.

At 196cm (6ft 5in), Kantilla was an exciting, high-leaping ruckman and forward who kicked 106 goals in his SANFL career. Adapting to the rigours and tempo of SANFL-level footy, Kantilla collected the Knuckey Cup as South Australia’s best and fairest in his first 2 seasons.

Kantilla was also a State representative for South Australia in 1964 and 1965, as well as being an integral member of the Panthers’ last premiership in the first of those seasons.

Respected Adelaide Advertiser journalist, Merv Agars, who was a member of West Adelaide’s 1947 premiership side, rated Kantilla’s effort in the 1964 grand final as a best-on-ground effort.

Sadly, in 1978, we mourned the loss of David Kantilla when he died as a result of a car crash at Nguiu on Bathurst Island.